· · · · · · · ·

Rediscovering Joshua-Ruth & 1 Samuel-1 Kings

We’re here to help you learn and grow, so naturally, we share affiliate links for products that we use and love. When you click on one of these links, we will earn a small amount of money, at no additional cost to you, which we’ll use towards keeping the lights on here! You can read our full disclaimer here.

Rediscovering Israel Online Biblical Study
Reading Assignment – Pg. 73-106
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The world doesn’t always make sense at first glance.  

What a true statement here in 2024.  Just a simple scroll through social media or a few minutes watching the news is enough to sadden your heart and blow your mind.  But this statement would have been an accurate statement to our forefathers and foremothers of faith as well, as they approached the flood waters of the Jordan River and Joshua instructed the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant forward into the waves.  Or when they took their daily walk around the fortified walls of Jericho.

In the moment of our present circumstances, we struggle in our human frailty to imagine the unimaginable.  We become fixated on the trials before us and resort to the white-knuckled grip, attempting to stay in control.

Oftentimes, it takes God humbling our hearts for us to change our perspective, to don our Middle Eastern Lenses, and to begin to see our circumstances through the lens of God’s heart.

“From the very beginning to the present day, God has been looking for a people who will participate with Him in seeing the promises come to pass.” 

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 74

God isn’t a genie that will grant us three wishes, or a vending machine from which we can order up our deepest desires — He is our loving Creator who desires to be with in relationship, in communion, and in partnership. 

In relationship with the Living God

I remember years ago, when Facebook was younger (and I was too, especially in my faith) you were able to add your religion to the “About” section of your personal profile.  I also remember the shock of seeing a friend change her status to say, “It’s more like a relationship” instead of simply stating she was a “Christian”.  

I scoffed at it and even thought it was awfully entitled.

And then, years later, I came to understand just how “religious” I was, as my once hard exterior of religion had fallen away to give light to a beautiful and budding relationship with the LORD.

Isn’t it humbling to look back on your history and see how God has been moving and making a way, even though you didn’t recognize His presence at that time.

A beautiful hand-lettered version of Joshua 1:9 hangs above my bed and has been a present reminder to me that no matter the circumstances, God has gone ahead of me, and He is standing waiting on the other side cheering me on through every triumph and trial.

“Now we better understand the ‘be strong and courageous’ charge that God repeatedly speaks to Joshua as he prepares to lead the people into the land of inheritance.  And Joshua would not be alone; the living God promises to be with him wherever he goes.”  (Pg. 74)

This is my command – be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged. 
For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9, NLT

I don’t doubt that those words echoed in Joshua’s heart as he walked through the Israelite camp the night before they crossed the Jordan River and each of the days they marched around the city of Jericho.

I’m sure that there was a healthy dose of adrenaline that pumped through his veins, but the knowledge that the living God, YHWH, would be with him—and even lead the way—had to have been a comfort as well.

So I challenge you, my friend, to write out these words and hang them in your bedroom, on your bathroom mirror, on your desk, or in a place where you’ll see them often:

“When we’re afraid, we often ask, ‘God, where are You?’  Scripture shows us that the living God goes in first.  When we get into our hardest, most devastating moments, God is already there.’”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 76

In communion with the Living God

Verse 2 of my favorite chapter of Scripture, Psalm 23, reminds us that the presence and provision of the LORD allows us to rest in peace.  

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
Psalm 23:2, NLT

That imagery is abundantly clear in the story of Samuel, Shmuel in Hebrew, as he grew up in the presence of the LORD, as His mother Hannah had dedicated him to service.  

In fact, he was so comfortable in the presence of the LORD, that he lay down near the Ark of the Covenant to sleep one night (1 Samuel 3:2-3).  And it was there, in the presence of the LORD, that Samuel received his call and became a prophet of Israel.

“First Samuel 3:1-2 says, ‘In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.  One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.’ I love this next part!  Notice where it says Samuel is sleeping: ‘The lamp of God had not gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was.’ Did you catch that?  Samuel is near the Ark of the Covenant; he is sleeping positioned to hear from the living God.  We see the power of proximity here as the Lord calls out to him.” 

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 92

Communing opens up communication.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them away from me.
John 10:27-28, NLT

The word “know” in verse 27 is ginōskō (Strong G1097 – γινώσκω), the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew yada (Strong H3045 –  יָדַע), a deep, intimate knowledge, like that of a relationship between a husband and a wife, and the type of relationship that God desires to have with His people.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8, ESV

Proximity to His presence leads to partnership.

In partnership with the Living God

From the very beginning of the creation of the first man, God has shown His desire to be in relationship, in communion, and in partnership.

So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.  But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
Genesis 2:20, NIV

But God also displayed His desire for man to also be in relationship, in communion, and partnership with others in the recognition of the need to create an ezer kenegdo (Strong 5828 – עֵזֶר) (Strong 5048 – נֶגֶד), a suitable helper/partner for Adam.

You’ve gotta hear Kristi McLelland teach on this word—

Click the video below to watch!

Is your brain bent, too, like Kristi’s? 😵🤯 To be considered for that title, Ezer, what a gift!

But that’s not the only title the LORD shares with His people.  

In the book of Ruth, even though God is not mentioned even once (though I see Jesus on every page), we witness Boaz partnering with the LORD as he answers the call to step into the role of Naomi’s kinsman redeemer, ga’al (Strong H1350 – גָּאַל).  

Ga’al means “to redeem” or “to buy back”. It is paying off a debt, one typically that is not your own. In the book of Ruth, the women of Bethlehem prophetically tell Naomi that the Living God, YHWH, would not only redeem her family’s name, saving her from a life of poverty, but also saving all of humanity through her family’s line. And He would carry this out through her husband’s relative, Boaz.

“‘This is said to Naomi: ‘Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer.  May he become famous throughout Israel!’  God honors their prayer.  Boaz becomes famous throughout Israel.  He and Ruth have a son named Obed, who becomes the father of Jesse, who becomes the father of the future King David.  The reward is always on the other side of obedience!’”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 89

This same term, ga’al, is used to describe the redemption that the LORD offered Israel as He bought back the nation and freed them from slavery (Exodus 6).

So no matter what our circumstances may look like at first glance: financial troubles, health concerns, a scary diagnosis, aging parents, loneliness, having to enter the Promise Land at flood stage, conquering a fortified city, or the loss of a spouse or child (and protection), we can be reminded that God may lead His people into the wilderness (metaphorically and/or physically), but He absolutely refuses to leave them there.

“Sometimes we have to stretch out our hands and trust, by faith, that God will not only part the waters, so to speak, but also hold them back while we cross—even when everything in us is screaming that the walls of water could come crashing in at any time. The living God gives instructions and is faithful to do His part, while often inviting us to be active participants in the story.”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 76

Additional Resources for Learning:

How will you live into God’s calling on your life—to carry His name forward and partner with Him in bringing redemption to those in darkness?

Shop this study

Rediscovering Israel | Kristi McLelland

A 7-week study to experience Scripture as a timeless, transformational Story demonstrating God’s love and faithfulness. String the Biblical pearls to encounter the Bible as one cohesive storyline, rather than a book of stand-alone accounts.

Rediscovering Israel by Kristi McLelland - Exclusive Spring Study for Annual Members Only | Intentionalfilling.com

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.